All six fighters made weight on Thursday for the ShoBox: The New Generation tripleheader taking place tomorrowfrom Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The tripleheader features six prospects with a combined record of 99-1-2 with 59 KOs.
In the 10-round main event, Russian Nikolay Potapov (14-0, 6 KOs) will take on St. Louis native Stephon Young (14-0-2, 6 KOs) in a matchup of undefeated bantamweight prospects.
In the eight-round co-feature, undefeated Dominican Eudy Bernardo (21-0, 15 KOs), a 5-foot-10 lightweight trained by former Olympic Gold Medalist Frank Tate, will take on once-beaten Mason Menard (30-1, 22 KOs), of Rayne, Louisiana.
In the eight-round opening bout of the telecast, Alexey Zubov (10-0, 6 KOs, who trains under Sugar Hill at the New Kronk Gym in Detroit, will meet fellow undefeated cruiserweight Constantin Bejenaru (10-0, 4 KOs), of Brooklyn by way of Moldova.
Potapov – 117 Pounds
Young – 116 ½ Pounds
Bernardo – 135 ½ Pounds
Menard – 135 Pounds
Zubov – 198 Pounds
Bejenaru – 198 Pounds
Here’s what the fighters had to say on Thursday:
“I’m looking to make a statement. My goal is to control the fight at every moment. Whether that leads to a KO or decision depends on the situation. The most important thing is I want to control every second of the fight and impress the fans.
“I don’t think he’s the best opponent I’ve faced. I plan to box him, control the fight and be explosive.
“My preparation has been different for this fight. I did a lot more sparring and I plan to be more aggressive. This is my first big fight on U.S. television and I want to make a statement.
“I trained in Moscow for this fight, and I didn’t come to the U.S. to lose.
“This is only my second fight in the U.S. The most important thing is to win. After that, we’ll look into moving to the U.S. to train. I travelled a lot in the amateurs, so coming to the U.S. and fighting isn’t an issue for me.
“I’d love to fight full-time in the U.S. We know that our best chance to win a world title is to fight here.
“I’ve only fought one southpaw as a pro, but I faced plenty in the amateurs. I won’t have any issues.
“He may be awkward because he is a southpaw. He also has fast hands and is a good boxer. And he’s undefeated, so I know he will be ready and motivated.
“I learn with every fight and expand my arsenal in every fight. I’m looking to show I have all the tools.”
“Since I’ve moved to Miami in January, I’m finally focused full-time on boxing. Everything is different now that I’m training down in Florida.
“I’ve been sparring with Juan Carlos Payano, the bantamweight champion of the world. That is the type of guy that I’ve been in the gym with, and I know Nikolay can’t punch like him. We’ve easily sparred over 100 rounds the past few months.
“This is a big opportunity for me. I know I need to be more active and throw more punches against this guy.
“He doesn’t have anything I can’t handle. He’s never fought an American. It’s a big step for me, but it’s a big step for him. He has a basic style and doesn’t like to be backed up.
“I’m hungry. This is the biggest fight of my career and I’ve never been this focused ever in my life. I’m hungry to become a champion.
“This is my hardest fight on paper, but I have no doubt in my mind that I can get that guy out of there.
“Everyone he fought comes straight forward, and I’m not that type of guy. He’s got to work to hit me.
“My opponent – he’s beatable. I believe that on April 15, he’ll get his first loss.”
“I feel like my career is starting right now. I’ve learned so much training with Frank Tate. I can’t wait to get in the ring to show it off. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from Frank Tate.
“The sparring in Houston has been great. I’ve really changed since I moved to the U.S. I eat healthy, I train differently. It’s all hard work in the gym.
“I describe myself as ready for anything. I’m aggressive, but I can box and move, depending on who I’m fighting. We are coming fast, hard and with everything we have.
“People might not know much about me because I’ve fought mostly in the Dominican Republic. This is my opportunity to prove myself.”
“We’ve just been hiding behind the scenes until now. When we get to the big screen on Friday, people will know what I can do.
“It’s my time. I’m 30-1, I’m 26 years old. I need to make my move. If I beat this guy, it will open up some major doors for me.
“I fought Jerry Belmontes and Terence Crawford in the amateurs. We know we need to use our footspeed to our advantage.
“We’re fighting a tall guy and know it may be tough to land shots, but I’ve faced guys as tall as him before.
“This is an opportunity for me to rise up and surprise people. I want fans to say, ‘wow, where did this kid come from?’
“This is make or break for me. It’s as simple as that.”
“I wanted to work with Sugar Hill, that’s why I moved to Detroit. I first met Sugar when I sparred with Jonathan Banks before he fought Seth Mitchell. After that, I knew I wanted to work with him.
“I’ve trained with all the guys at the New Kronk Gym – Anthony Dirrell, Adonis Stevenson. Now I’m in my first official fight with Sugar as my trainer. I feel different after training with him, and I want to show what I’ve learned.
“I don’t know if this is the toughest guy I’ve faced. We’ll see.
“I don’t care fighting southpaws, I can fight anyone. My last two fights were with southpaws, so it’s not a problem for me.
“I’ve waited a long time for this moment. Now is my chance to make a statement in the cruiserweight division.”
“Zubov is a good opponent. He’s technical, he’s big and he has a good background. We’re happy to have this fight. We need to go in there and do our job.
“I’m the shorter fighter, so I know I need to get inside and attack.
“We’ve been training for this fight for almost four months. I’m ready to get in there and go to work.”
Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and former world champion Raúl Márquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.